Over the years, the Wii has seen a lot of karaoke games in the vein of Sony's SingStar series: Boogie, Disney Sing It, We Sing. Published by Nordic games, We Sing: Robbie Williams marks the third entry in the series after We Sing and We Sing: Encore, with the release being timed to coincide with the title star's new greatest hits album, In and Out Of Consciousness: Greatest Hits 1990-2010. So how does it fare compared to previous attempts? Well, it's nearly identical in terms of gameplay and that's not a good thing
Like before, there are three main gameplay modes available here. Solo Mode, as the name suggests, involves you singing through songs on your own. The aim of the game is to simply sing along to different songs through a USB microphone, filling up the on-screen bars by singing on-key to earn points, which is simple enough. However, voice recognition hasn't changed much from Encore unfortunately, and it still has issues picking up on your voice properly. It can be fun to sing along to a high energy tune but it's not long before it becomes rather dull and repetitive.
When you finish, there's a variety of awards that you can earn depending on how well you did, from the “Goldfish” and “Rotten Tomato” awards for poor performances to the “Golden Disc” and “Diamond Mic” awards for pop sensations, which adds some replay value to the game but whether you'll want to keep trying for the top awards is another matter entirely.
The game contains 26 of his singles, from older songs such as Angels, Let Me Entertain You and Rock DJ to newer hits like Bodies and You Know Me, all of which are accompanied by their official music videos. There's also the option to play the whole song or only half of it, as well as three different difficulty levels that alter the acceptable margin of error for your voice pitch. It doesn't contain as many songs as a lot of other music titles, due to the focus on one particular singer, which may disappoint some people. Robbie Williams fans, of course, will undoubtedly enjoy the choice of songs available, particularly with the variety of different singing styles throughout them.
There's a large number of different multiplayer games available too, such as the normal Versus mode, the lyrics-hiding Blind mode and First to X, where you have to reach a certain number of points and the first one to do it wins.
There's a nice variety available here; the game has its moments and it can be fun to compete with your friends. Sadly though, most modes just aren't that interesting and won't keep you occupied for long, particularly with the more limited appeal when compared to song libraries available in the previous games.
Then there's Karaoke mode. This is rather different as it completely removes the score and the performance bars from Solo and Party modes and simply contains the song and on-screen lyrics with all the vocals removed. For those looking not so much for a competitive experience, but simply just want to sing along, this is where to go and makes a nice addition to the game.
There are also singing lessons available for those who need help with getting the pitch of your voice right for certain notes, and these lessons are based on the Solfège scale (Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si) like before. Unfortunately, while things are explained slightly more clearly than in the previous attempt, despite it working fairly well in the main game, the voice recognition for these singing lessons is pretty poor. Even if you hit the right note it sometimes won't recognise it, although it does seem to recognise other sounds oddly enough, like low-pitched growling in one lesson.
For this release, Nordic also tried to boost the content by including a large range of extras. The biggest one undoubtedly will be the unlockable inclusion of his single Shame, the long awaited duet with fellow Take That band member Gary Barlow. There's also a few other extras included here, such as a photo gallery and footage from his famed Knebworth concerts in 2003, which helps to please the singer's fans.
Apart from the focus on one artist alone this time around, not a great deal has changed from the previous We Sing games. The voice recognition is still dodgy, it's pretty dull and the only real redeeming factor is the multiplayer. This is one that comes with a high degree of caution.